Augusta National Golf Club officials announced that golfers who qualified for the Masters tournament based on its previous criteria will be eligible to play in April 2023.
Therefore, several players who currently compete in the LIV Golf series will likely receive an invitation to the Masters next year.
Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel makeup a group of six previous Master champions who defected from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf.
Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley released a statement on Tuesday announcing the organization's decision, saying in part:
"Regrettably, recent actions have divided men's professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it," Ridley wrote. "Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent field of golfers this coming April."
"Therefore, as invitations are sent this week, we will invite those eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament. As we have said in the past, we look at every aspect of the Tournament each year, and any modifications or changes to invitation criteria for future Tournaments will be announced in April. We have reached a seminal point in the history of our sport. At Augusta National, we have faith that golf, which has overcome many challenges through the years, will endure again."
The Masters, the first major championship of the season and golf's most prestigious tournament, is scheduled for April 6-9 in Augusta, Georgia.
Speculation has swirled for months about the possibility of Augusta National deciding to make it more difficult for LIV golfers to play in the Masters. LIV Golf and the PGA Tour have been at odds for the last several months over the world's top golfers.
LIV Golf has sparked controversy since its inception. The league is fronted by two-time Open Championship winner Greg Norman and financed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.
Many of the biggest names in the PGA Tour have signed contracts with LIV Golf reportedly worth up to $200 million. The new circuit has also hosted tournaments with the richest purses in the history of the sport.
In August, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and nine other LIV golfers filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. The suit suggested the tour colluded with the major championships in an effort to ban LIV players for the sport's biggest events.
The complaint claimed Augusta National officials "threatened to disinvite players from The Masters if they joined LIV Golf." It also alleged that Chairman Ridley "personally instructed" players in the 2022 tournament not to depart for LIV Golf.
Mickelson decided not to compete in this year's Master tournament. The three-time Masters winner received significant criticism for his comments about the PGA Tour's "obnoxious greed" and the Saudi Arabian monarchy's history of human rights violations.